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Author Topic: Small Craft as 'Omni Pods'  (Read 596 times)

idea weenie

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Small Craft as 'Omni Pods'
« on: 18 July 2021, 12:57:37 »
From Reaved's thread about Small Craft Auxiliary roles, plus reading about how the Aurora had modular cargo bays, I had an idea about using Small Craft in Small Craft Bays to serve as a form of omni-pod.  If you have a Dropship with 4 Small Craft bays, you can swap out whatever Small Craft you need in order to provide mission flexibility.

The obvious down side is that a purpose-built Dropship will be cheaper and more efficient, as a Mech Bay masses 150 tons, while a Small Craft will mass 200 tons.  So a Leopard that can normally carry 4 Mechs, 1 ASF, and 150 tons of cargo in a total of 900 tons, while a Leopard-SC that uses 4 Small Craft Bays will only carry 4 Mechs and 100 tons of cargo in the same 900 tons.  The Small Craft also add to the price of the Leopard-SC by over 7 million C-Bills each.  However, if that Leopard-SC needs to change from being a Mech carrier to a Vehicle carrier, it can do so win a matter of minutes by having the existing SC-Omni-Mech fly themselves out and SC-Omni-Veh(L) docked in their place.

The low thrust (and Overthrust) however, means that the Small Craft-Omni cannot be used for orbit-to-ground or ground-to-orbit maneuvers.  The SC-Omni can only be changed out on the ground, or in zero-G.  The lack of armor on the base model means that if an enemy ASF gets into range of these SC-Omni, while they are vulnerable, the SC-Omni will be destroyed very rapidly, as even a single PPC shot is capable of destroying it.  Even the humble Machine gun only needs a few shots to take one out, let alone an SRM salvo.

Basically, they are not as capable on an individual basis as the Trader Mk 7, thy require surface to orbit (and orbit to surface) transportation.

The Life Support systems on this craft are designed for the 3-person maintenance crew, as any carried cargo is expected to provide its own life support capability.  It is possible to overload the Small Craft's life support for short periods, but the 3-person crew will be very cranky at having to perform a full overhaul afterwards.  Polite groups arrange for Life support linkages with the mounting Dropship, Jumpship, Warship, or Space Station so the SC's Life Support doesn't have to handle the excess.

The heat sink systems are designed to be plugged into the mounting Dropship's (or other vessel's) Heat sink network, rather than causing the SC-Omni to heat up.  If it is loose in space it can use its heat sinks freely, if it is on the ground and the Dropship's door is open it can use its heat sinks freely, but when on board another vessel with the assigned door closed (or not even having an assigned door), the SC can only get rid of heat to the attached vessel.  Sneaky crews make sure to chill their craft's onboard water supplies down to ice before heading out, and trusting that block of ice to keep them cool until they can link with another vessel.

SC-Omi can only transfer cargo to each other if they are listed as doing so on the carrying craft.  So if a Dropship has a separate SC-Omni in each of its bays, then the SC-Omni can only transfer infantry and cargo between each other (Battle armor can transfer, but at half rate on Inner Sphere vessels; Clan vessels are already designed with BA-scale passageways).

The SC-Omni take the normal times to refit themselves internally, the Omni capability is reflected that a Small Craft can be flowing out of one vessel and into another vessel in a matter a minutes.  Changing a SC-Omni-Mech to a SC-Omni-ASF takes the normal time to remove the 150-ton Mech Bay and replace it with an ASF bay.


Here is the rough design (with notes)

Code: [Select]
SC-Sph Omni Hull
Type: Military Spheriod (yes, MML has this misspelled)
Mass: 200 tons
Technology Base: Inner Sphere (Standard)
Introduced: 3025
Mass: 200
Battle Value: 96
Tech Rating/Availability: D/X-E-D-D
Cost: 7,310,510 C-bills

Fuel: 0.5 tons (40 pts) (1.84 tons/burn-day)
Pumps: 0.5 tons
Control Systems: (1.5 tons)
Safe Thrust: 1    (Engine Mass: 13 tons)
Maximum Thrust: 2
Heat Sinks: 4 (all engine-mounted)
(If on board a Dropship, when the mounting Dropship's doors are closed the heat is dumped into the mounting Dropship's heat total)
Structural Integrity: 8  (3.5 tons)

Armor (all from SI) (0 tons)
    Nose: 8
    Sides: 8/8
    Aft: 8

Cargo
    Bay 1:  Cargo (166.0 tons)      1 Door   

Ammunition: None

Escape Pods: 0
Life Boats: 0
Crew:  1 officer, 2 enlisted/non-rated
Quarters: 3 * Standard (15 tons)

Notes:
Weapons
and Ammo              Location   Tonnage  Heat   SRV  MRV  LRV  ERV
None

Now to come up with various combos of equipment for the 166 tons.  Examples are:
SC-Omni-Mech: Mech Bay, 16 tons of supplies/ammo/armor/life support
SC-Omni-ASF: ASF Bay, 16 tons of supplies/ammo/armor/life support
SC-Omni-Veh(L): 3 * Vehicle Bay (Light), 16 tons of supplies/ammo/armor/life support
SC-Omni-Veh(H): 1 * Vehicle Bay (Heavy), 66 tons of supplies/ammo/armor/life support
SC-Omni-Inf (Foot): 3 * Infantry Bays (Foot), each with 45 tons of Life support (20 man-days per ton, and each Bay has ~32 days of Life Support), 16 tons of supplies/ammo/armor/life support
SC-Omni-Inf (Jump): 3 * Infantry Bays (Jump-28), each with 44 tons of Life support (20 man-days per ton, and each Bay has ~31 days of Life Support), 16 tons of supplies/ammo/armor/life support (each Jump platoon is 28 people including the tech team)
SC-Omni-Inf (Motorized): 3 * Infantry Bays (Motorized), each with 43 tons of Life support (20 man-days per ton, and each Bay has ~30 days of Life Support), 16 tons of supplies/ammo/armor/life support
SC-Omni-Inf (Mechanized): 10 * Infantry Bays (Mechanized), each with 7 tons of Life support (20 man-days per ton, and each Bay has ~28 days of Life Support), 16 tons of supplies/ammo/armor/life support
SC-Omni-Inf (Battlearmor): 15 * Battlearmor Bay (2-ton capacity), each with 8 tons of Life support (20 man-days per ton, and each Bay has ~20 days of Life Support if carrying 8 Exoskeletons per bay), 16 tons of supplies/ammo/armor/life support.  This was designed where each BA bay can carry 1 Heavy or Assault BA, 2 Medium BA, 4 Light BA, or 8 PA/Exoskeleton, and the life support was factored on the 8 troopers being present.
SC-Omni-Proto - not yet designed

(Additional SC-Omni can be loaded to each door, but only one SC-Omni can transfer its cargo off the mounting ship per door.  So if a Dropship has five SC-Omni-Mech attached to a single door, then only one of them could transfer its Mech off the Dropship, and the others would transfer their Mechs to the SC-Omni-Mech that is closer to the door.  SC-Omni can only transfer their cargo to an appropriate receiving SC-Omni, meaning you cannot transfer and ASF to a SC-Omni-Mech in order to launch that ASF.  ASF can only be transferred to an ASF Bay (or a cargo bay).  Exception: Infantry can freely pass through other SC-Omni, though their crews will get annoyed about the number of people going through 'their' space.  BA can transfer through non-BA capable SC-Omni, at half transfer rates.  This usually winds up with the first few SC-Omni being of the same type, the following SC-Omni being BA bays, and the final ones as infantry.)



Dakka pods are designed around the Small Craft having all of its weapons (and armor) on a single side, rather than split equally.  Initially this was attempted by using Aerodyne Small Craft with all weapons in the nose, but their cargo was reduced by 8.5 tons.  Due to the Spheroid craft having all the armor and weapons on a single side, these vessels have a 2-pt penalty to all piloting checks due to the dense mass causing the vessel to be lopsided.  Aerodyne Dakka pods do not have this issue (though they have 8.5 tons less equipment/armor/weapons/heat sinks).

Dakka pods have to be able to dump all their heat from firing at maximum rate.  When installed in a larger craft, the only part of the Dakka pod that can be fired on by an enemy is the selected side.  However, shooting up the mounting platform is always an option, as is trying for a critical hit on the Door, causing the Door to fall down and block line of fire of the Dakka pod.

Due to the Door weakness, Dakka pods tend to prefer equipping long-range weapons so it can return fire when fired upon.

Only one Dakka pod can be active per Door (Dakka pods behind the one firing cannot shoot past it). Dakka pods cannot be used to transfer cargo past themselves, since they were never designed for cargo transfer in the first place.  Exception: Infantry and BA can travel through a Dakka pod, though BA attempting to transfer through a Dakka pod gets its transfer speed halved again.

Examples are:
SC-Omni-Art(LT) - 4 Long Tom Artillery and 32 tons of ammo, allowing for 40 salvos.  Due to being mounted on one side of the Small Craft, this artillery unit has a firing arc that must be taken into account for support purposes.  I.e. if the artillery SC is mounted on the Starboard side of the grounded Aerodyne Dropship, then enemies attacking from the Nose, Aft, or Port side cannot be engaged by that artillery SC.


Utility SC-Omni pods are also fairly common, in addition to the basic 166-ton capacity cargo pod.  Instead of attempting to dock and perform a direct cargo transfer of 166 tons, the sending ship will load up the SC-Omni-Cargo with the selected cargo, send the SC-Omni over, and the receiving craft then performs the unloading at its preferred rate. This allows a cargo transport to rapidly service multiple craft at the same time without needing to worry about who is docked and who cannot fit.

Some variants:
SC-Omni-AWACS - a SC-Omni with an Light Naval Comm-Scanner Suite, and other equipment designed to keep track of what is going on in nearby space.
SC-Omni-MASH - a SC-Omni with a central Surgical suite, 13 additional theaters, 30 days life support for all 84 people (126 tons), 2.5 units of of Infantry(Foot) quarters (5 tons per unit) for the 70 medical staff, 11 tons of other supplies
SC-Omni-Food - a SC-Omni with 3 Field Kitchens (each massing 3 tons, needing 3 people, and capable of feeding 150 people); 2 tons of Infantry(Foot) Quarters (technically it only needs 1.6 tons, but the Cooks pointed out that if they weren't comfy, then nobody would have a happy meal), and 155 tons of Life-support and food supplies (enough to feed 459 people for ~6 days)
SC-Omni-HQ - a C3 Master, 18 tons of communications equipment,Active probes, Remote Sensors, and all other sorts of battlefield management equipment.  Rare variants are rumored to contain a Mobile HPG.

The nice advantage is that each of these Small Craft has an onboard Fusion reactor, meaning that onboard and attached equipment never has to worry about drawing too much power.  MASH units are able to freely use high-temperature sterilization equipment, Field kitchens can use high-temperature ovens, and HQ units can use extra power to try and break through enemy interference without worrying about the rest of their equipment suffering brownouts.

Daryk

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Re: Small Craft as 'Omni Pods'
« Reply #1 on: 18 July 2021, 13:41:21 »
I think the only things holding this concept back from being workable are the old rules change that removed Bay quality crew quarters (that included Small Craft in what I think was a critical mistake by TPTB), and the ruling that it takes at least a 3/5 ship to escape an atmosphere (that I think might be reasonable for spheroids, but aerodynes should be able to make it with 2/3 in my opinion).  I think ground to orbit capability is really necessary.

namar13766

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Re: Small Craft as 'Omni Pods'
« Reply #2 on: 18 July 2021, 16:55:10 »
...Are you trying to create the equivalent of Traveller's Modular Cutters?

Elmoth

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Re: Small Craft as 'Omni Pods'
« Reply #3 on: 18 July 2021, 17:02:13 »
And the fact that the speed is 1/2, so the SC are one use only if you use them near a planet.

idea weenie

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Re: Small Craft as 'Omni Pods'
« Reply #4 on: 19 July 2021, 10:32:31 »
I think the only things holding this concept back from being workable are the old rules change that removed Bay quality crew quarters (that included Small Craft in what I think was a critical mistake by TPTB), and the ruling that it takes at least a 3/5 ship to escape an atmosphere (that I think might be reasonable for spheroids, but aerodynes should be able to make it with 2/3 in my opinion).  I think ground to orbit capability is really necessary.

If I added ground to orbit ability, the Aerodyne would lose 13 tons of cargo capacity (going from 157.5 to 144.5 tons) while the Spheroid would lose 26 tons of cargo (going from 166 tons to 140 tons cargo).  This would result in neither of them being able to service Mechs or ASF.

These are not designed for going from surface to orbit or vice versa when at full load.  Their purpose is to allow a Dropship to rapidly refit itself based on mission needs, then the Dropship performs the ground to orbit and orbit to ground maneuvers.

In order to let them get to orbit you'd have to add House Rules where listed Thrust * design weight is divided by current weight, rounded down, to produce a new Thrust/OverThrust rating.

So Thrust * 200 tons = 200 Thrust-tons.  If you drop off 80 tons of cargo, the remaining tonnage is 120 tons.  200 / 120 = 1.667, which rounded down is a Thrust rating of only 1.  You need to get rid of at least 100 tons of cargo to get a Thrust of 2 or more, and if you want a thrust of 3 you need to get rid of a total of 167 tons of cargo.  Since these craft only have 166 tons of cargo, that means something critical will need to be removed (likely one or more of the Steerage Quarters, replacing each one removed with 4 tons of life support material).

Good RPG scenario there, where the characters have to get to a Dropship in orbit, and while traveling on the surface find one of these pods.  Time to make some Engineering rolls to tear stuff out without making too many holes.

...Are you trying to create the equivalent of Traveller's Modular Cutters?

Was originally trying to make them to serve as the modular cargo bays for the Aurora, but these could be similar.  The nice part about these 'modules' is that they have their own (short-range) fuel supply, plenty of life support, and don't need the mounting craft's power supply.  Traveller's Cutter Modules lack the inherent maneuvering/power/life support systems, though those probably could be added.

And the fact that the speed is 1/2, so the SC are one use only if you use them near a planet.

The key is to use them at orbital speed.  As long as you are moving fast enough to orbit the planet normally, you should be good.  But you are right, if the pilot decelerates too much that is a once in a lifetime experience for the pilot and anyone on board.

Daryk

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Re: Small Craft as 'Omni Pods'
« Reply #5 on: 19 July 2021, 15:45:00 »
*snip*
In order to let them get to orbit you'd have to...
*snip*
Or, you know, do what I suggested and restore Bay quality quarters as possible for Small Craft...

killfr3nzy

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Re: Small Craft as 'Omni Pods'
« Reply #6 on: 21 July 2021, 01:41:03 »
The way I'd thought of it was...

Cargo Pod
200t Super-Heavy Trailer Chassis  -  40t
10 Rating Standard Fusion Engine  -  0.5t
Fusion Engine Shielding  -  0.5t
20pts armour each facing  -  7.5t
Payload (fits Mech Cubicle)  -  151.5t
Total Cost  -  2.125 Mil (minus whatever the C-Bill cost is for 10t of Cockpit and Controls, that MechFactory thinks it needs)

Can't remember how trailers handle crew weight for weapons, if they're free you might be able to shoo off curious onlookers with Sponson Turrets armed with Infantry-scale weapons or MicroPulse Lasers (~1.5t).


Granted, it doesn't have any onboard quarters, nor the ability for sub-orbital hops or transferring itself from one spacecraft berth to another (or... moving at all, on its ownsome).
But you can pull it right in and out of a Super-Heavy Vehicle Bay, or more slowly from Cargo; it is much easier to build, use and maintain; and I can get almost 350% as many for the price!

Also, I thought you only needed Thrust 3 to escape atmo?


Daryk

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Re: Small Craft as 'Omni Pods'
« Reply #7 on: 21 July 2021, 03:28:50 »
*snip*
Also, I thought you only needed Thrust 3 to escape atmo?
Sadly. it really is 4: https://bg.battletech.com/forums/rules-questions/answered-exiting-airspace-interface-hexes/

The funky thing is an aerodyne can lift off with only 2.

CVB

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Re: Small Craft as 'Omni Pods'
« Reply #8 on: 21 July 2021, 05:55:34 »
The way I'd thought of it was...

Cargo Pod
200t Super-Heavy Trailer Chassis  -  40t
10 Rating Standard Fusion Engine  -  0.5t
Fusion Engine Shielding  -  0.5t
20pts armour each facing  -  7.5t
Payload (fits Mech Cubicle)  -  151.5t
Total Cost  -  2.125 Mil (minus whatever the C-Bill cost is for 10t of Cockpit and Controls, that MechFactory thinks it needs)

MML gives 1,825,000 C$ w/o controls. When you can dispense with the engine, payload +1t, cost drops to 1,425,000C$

Quote
Can't remember how trailers handle crew weight for weapons, if they're free you might be able to shoo off curious onlookers with Sponson Turrets armed with Infantry-scale weapons or MicroPulse Lasers (~1.5t).

Would need crew + controls when used w/o a trailer attached  :(

Quote
Granted, it doesn't have any onboard quarters, nor the ability for sub-orbital hops or transferring itself from one spacecraft berth to another (or... moving at all, on its ownsome).
But you can pull it right in and out of a Super-Heavy Vehicle Bay, or more slowly from Cargo; it is much easier to build, use and maintain; and I can get almost 350% as many for the price!

If we go with a 200t, TL D, large support vehicle trailer, w/o engine, 10t BAR7 armor (37 points all around), price drops to 594,000 C$.

Quote
Also, I thought you only needed Thrust 3 to escape atmo?

Edit: see Daryk's link
« Last Edit: 21 July 2021, 06:00:15 by CVB »
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Daryk

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Re: Small Craft as 'Omni Pods'
« Reply #9 on: 02 August 2021, 09:39:30 »
Or, you know, do what I suggested and restore Bay quality quarters as possible for Small Craft...
I did the math.  Using Bay quality quarters for a crew of three is half a ton (with the current errata of Tech Manual).  After installing a 'mech cubicle and a 3/5 engine, you have 4 tons to share between fuel (and pumps), armor, and food (basically the rest of the half ton not used by pumps, so it's really 3.5 tons divided between fuel and armor).  Why TPTB thought this was so beyond the pale it had to be invalidated by banning Bay quarters for Small Craft, I have no idea.

 

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